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>> Prime Minister Abe, thank you very much.>> US President Donald Trump has found a trading ally. Japan's Shinzo Abe announced they're back at the negotiating table Wednesday after talks stalled last year. It comes as Trump looks to make good on a campaign promise to level the trading playing field but it's Abe who might have scored the biggest win.
>> He had to get Trump back on his side.>> Reuters Breaking Views columnist Pete Sweeney says if an agreement is reached, Abe will have successfully protected his country's car makers from scalding US tariffs.>> That was just gonna be an absolute killer for a huge industry, it contributes like 20% of Japanese economic output.
They would have rather have had the US in the Transpacific Partnership, the TPP, multilateral trade agreement, Trump pulled out. This is the best they can do with what they've got at the time.>> But the US could also be looking for an easy win here. It's looming ever closer to a full-blown trade war with a country that Japan has been cozying up to.
>> Abe has been making these moves to sidle up to the Chinese side, which the US doesn't want either.>> Abe now has to balance Donald Trump's America, a huge export market for Japan, and Xi Jinping's China, a fast growing market for Japanese goods.>> But of course, he can't control what Trump does and he can't control what Xi does and that's the drama where he's on the sidelines and just has to do the best he can with a tough situation.
>> Abe stressed that talks were not a free trade agreement.>> Instead, it's being called a trade agreement on goods. That means Tokyo gets to avoid rules on investments and services. The US, though, already appears to be going full steam ahead with plans for a full-fledged trade deal that could start churning through Congress as early as Thursday in an effort to squash Japan's $69 billion trade surplus with the US.
But the problem there might not be one for Trump's trade team.>> And the fact is that the American brands, which are focused on these giant gas guzzling SUVs, don't make the cars that Japanese people wanna drive. Whereas Japanese companies who make three quarters of the cars that they sell to Americans in the United States themselves are quite good at making cars that Americans wanna drive.
>> And that could be a harder battle for Trump to fight.